Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 13TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis along with other Caribbean nations have agreed with the United States on a range of measures to boost regional security including harmonized legislation that would allow for the seizure of assets used in illicit activities.

US Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with Prime Minister of The Bahamas the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, The Bahamas’ Minister of National Security The Hon. Tommy Turnquest, United States Ambassador to The Bahamas Nicole Avant along with senior government officials representing the United States, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, and the Dominican Republic. (Photo State Dept.)

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin, a member of the Ministerial Task Force on Crime, along with Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Astona Browne and Commissioner of Police, Mr. C. G. Walwyn were among officials who hammered out an eleven-point action plan during the 2nd Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) that ended in the Bahamas.

The meeting brought together Ministers of National Security from around the region and US Secretary of Homeland Security, the Hon. Janet Napolitano.

Officials agreed to adopt policies and legislative reforms that would facilitate region-wide information sharing on matters such as radar and sensor data and fingerprint and ballistics data among other matters. The meeting also decided that a regional juvenile justice policy should be developed along with harmonized legislation promoting community intervention and alternatives to sentencing and incarceration.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has said the CBSI should not be viewed as a quick fix for the many security challenges facing the Caribbean but that the arrangement should offer an important opportunity for both states to act together to counter the region’s continued vulnerability to transnational criminal activity.

He said other Caribbean countries have also stepped up action, through Caricom and other regional organizations, to address crime and security objectives.

The United States’ Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Hon. Janet Napolitano, delivered the keynote address at the second Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue on November 10, 2011.

She said her trip to The Bahamas and participation in the Security Cooperation Dialogue underscores the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening regional security cooperation while facilitating trade and tourism.

Through CBSI, the United States is partnering with Caribbean nations by enhancing maritime and aerial security cooperation, supporting law enforcement capacity building, improving border/port security and firearms interdiction, promoting justice sector reform, and investing in community-based crime prevention programs targeting at-risk youth. Training, education and equipment have been made available to the partner organizations through these programs which were developed through the CBSI cooperative dialogue process.

The U.S. commitment to the Caribbean and to the CBSI partnership also extends beyond the CBSI funding to HIV/AIDS prevention, military education and training, advancing economic development and trade, and promoting social inclusion for marginalized groups.

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